Lighter, Technology

World’s Worst Password? “Password”

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Image of a padlock with cyber numbers on itThere are good passwords, and then there are passwords that are easy for hackers to crack. But the worst password to use on the Internet is: “password.”

Many websites on the Internet require users to enter a password in order to use them. A password is a secret combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

“Hackers” are criminals who try to break into websites, in order to steal information or vandalize the site.

Hackers don’t just guess at passwords. They use special computer programs that try tens of thousands of letter combinations very quickly to uncode a password.

When a person uses a simple password, the hacker can figure it out very quickly. For instance, a hacker can break a simple six-character password in less than six minutes. But by adding a number to the same password, it would take the hacker more than eight days to guess it.

An Internet security firm recently published a list of the worst passwords. In other words, the easiest ones to hack. They are:

1) password
2) 123456
3) 12345678
4) qwerty (ie, the letters across the first row of keys on the keyboard)
5) abc123
6) monkey
7) 1234567
8 ) letmein (ie, let me in)
9) trustno1 (ie, trust no one)
10) dragon
11) baseball
12) 111111
13) iloveyou

The firm says it’s also a bad idea to use a password that is a common name or word, like Michael or cupboard.

Instead, add a character to your password, such as: cupbo@rd. Or, use an acronym. For instance, by thinking of the phrase “My cat’s name is Spot and he is 2,” and using the first letters of each word you get “mcnisahi2” — a password that is easy to remember but difficult to hack.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Today’s article explained that using an acronym to create a password is a really effective way to slow down hackers. Create an acronym password using 6 letters and/or digits.  Give your password to a classmate and see if they can hack it.

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Think about all the places where you have created a password (text to self), all the places where you have read about unlocking a password, or solving a riddle (text to text), and all the places and things that require a password to gain access (text to world).

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own  knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and  insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them(OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Quotation Marks
Quotation marks are used in three different ways in today’s article.

1. In the following sentence, quotation marks are used to set off the word “password” from the rest of the sentence.

“But the worst password to use on the Internet is: “password.” “

2. In the sentence below, quotation marks are used to show a nickname for people who break into online spaces.

“Hackers” are criminals who try to break into websites, in order to steal information or vandalize the site.”

3. Lastly, in the sentence that follows, quotation marks are used twice. First to show a direct quote and then to set the acronym off from the rest of the sentence, like in the first example.

“For instance, by thinking of the phrase “My cat’s name is Spot and he is 2,” and using the first letters of each word you get “mcnisahi2” — a password that is easy to remember but difficult to hack.”


Place a 1, 2, or 3 beside the examples below to explain why a quotation mark was used.

1. The “little rugrats” were driving their mom crazy. _____________

2. Ms. Dormer screamed, “Stop throwing paper airplanes!” _____________

3. In an upset voice, she told him, “Go outside!” _____________

4. I think I’ve invented something delicious, “Choco-chips.” _____________